Jose Altuve: Astros’ MVP by the numbers

After a series of articles and arguments that have not been about what was happening on the field – it is time to behold the glory of the best Astro of 2014: Jose Altuve.

Here is a little Altuve by the numbers (all numbers toted after the games of August 30th).

0 – The number of Astros who have won the batting title in the history of the franchise. Jose is leading the AL by .004 over Victor Martinez and .021 over the NL leader, Justin Morneau.

1 – The number of Astros who have led their league in hits (Jose Cruuuuuuz – 189 hits in 1983). Of course our new Jose Altuuuuuuve is well on the way to being the first Astro to lead the AL in hits – he is 17 ahead of Melky Cabrera. By the way, he is 25 ahead of the NL leader – some ne’er do well named Hunter Pence.

2 – The most games Jose has gone in a row without a hit (4 times). It is also the number of Astros who have led the league in SBs before – Craig Biggio and Michael Bourn. Altuve has a 12-bag lead over Jacoby Ellsbury in the SB race heading into September.

18 – Even though he has only played in 78 of the Astros 135 games, George Springer has driven in Altuve more times than any other teammate has.

54 – Altuve has that many multi-hit games this season, the most in the majors. Melky Cabrera is second with 51.

.402 vs. .363 – The first number is Altuve’s OBP when batting second in the order and the second number is his OBP when batting first. So maybe Bo Porter and the front office know what they are doing when they stick Jose in the second spot.

.914 / .721 – As Altuve goes, so goes the Astros. These are the OPS splits for Altuve in the Astros wins/losses. He is a terror in Houston wins or….. the Astros are terrors when Jose is hot.

So, as one of the guys who was wondering if the Astros needed to trade Jose before he got any worse last year — my deep apologies — and Jose you are the bomb.


46 comments on “Jose Altuve: Astros’ MVP by the numbers

  1. Up to 4.3 WAR for Jose. He is only 5 doubles behind the MLB leader. He is the AL leader.
    Oh, by the way, Mark Appel was rewarded for his great start last week, by being made a reliever today and coming into the last game of the year with runs already in and runners on. Darin Downs got the start in preference to Appel and pitched like crap, and Appel pretty much pitched like crap, although he was wild in only one inning and got 5 grounders and four strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
    It was kind of awesome to see how wonderfully the Astros treated him after pitching 8 shutout innings . Maybe they wanted to punish him for badmouthing the the tandem system by reminding him that the Astros might spend the $6.5 million bonus making him a reliever, considering they don’t have a clue where to find any relievers.
    This organization is really good with their top pitching prospects. They especially want to mess with guys who were struggling and finally got it together and then they screw with his head.
    Gosh Guys, does this particular blog seem sort of vanilla. This old man kinda found his groove today.
    Me and Cosart are a little stubborn. I wonder if I’ll get traded because of that.


  2. We’ve got at least a handful of guys on the 40 man that will not be around in a year. In the meantime, Tropeano and his 0.987 WHIP will likely have to wait. I’m sure he’s about as pleased as Appel is right now.


  3. I will say that I wrote this before Altuve’s big day – 4 for 5 with the game winning hit in the 8th. So now he is at .336 vs. Victor Martinez’s .327 and he is 20 hits ahead of Cabrera.
    The guy is just an amazing / consistent hitter. If he could just get the rest of the team to follow his example and go with the pitch.


    • Two other points:

      The idea that this season is a fluke (in case any Negative Nellies were going there) is not supported by Altuve’s past. He hit for very high averages in the minors and, after a couple of years of adjustment, seems to be doing the same in Houston. I’m not saying he’ll contend for a batting title every year, but this probably won’t be the last time he does so.

      Second, Altuve is currently on a nine-game hitting streak. Except for Sunday, his average dropped most of those days. Why? Because he was in a slump. Yes, going 1-4, 1-5 and 1-3 every game is a slump for Altuve.

      Oh, and one final thing. Not everyone on this team would have been a great player in the Dome. Matty D, as bad as he is, would have been horrendous in the Dome. Springer would have been a bit diminished as a Dome player. But Altuve reminds me of Jose Cruz … only better. Speed. Hit tool. Good D. Gap power.

      We are lucky to have him. And we should enjoy his play every day.


      • I think his grandmother’s death and the Paredes collision really hurt his play last year as did the awful start of the team in Spring 2013. I also give credit to Luhnow for convincing Jose to not play Winter Ball last offseason, thus he has held up terrifically this season.


      • Lots of good points there oldpro – I also think when they stuck him in the 3rd spot of the batting order he tried to do too much. Hey and he now has some legitimate guys batting behind him in Fowler and Carter – yes Carter.


    • Amen, Nancy. I say we clone him. He’s short enough it wouldn’t take the clones long to reach full size.

      His hand-eye coordination amazes me. Sometimes when he hits pitches out of the zone I’m astonished. Actually these days, I’m more astonished when he swings and misses.


    • Nance, maybe we do have more like him.
      Tony Kemp’s season is over. His slash line for the year is .317BA, .412 OBP, 449 SLG strictly as a leadoff hitter. He had 29 doublles, 8 triples and 8 homeruns evenly divided for the most part in Lancaster and CC. Oh, his K rate is good and his walk rate is terrific and he had over 40 steals.
      If he has another year like this one, could you picture a lefty leadoff guy like that followed by a righty hitter like Altuve hitting second. Since they both play second base you can use the DH to rest them constantly, but still have both of them in the lineup. Kemp has also played some LF in college and in the minors, so that is another place for him to play occasionally.
      Now picture a terrific OBP and RBI guy like Correa batting third followed by a power cleanup and another power guy in the 5 slot, one of them a lefty and one a righty. Picture an OBP high average guy like Moran in the six slot and a power hitting outfielder in the seven slot. You put your catcher in the eight slot and have your last good fast OBP guy hitting ninth with the turnover of Kemp, Altuve, Correa up again.
      In a scenario like that in 2016/2017 Altuve and Springer are probably the oldest position players on your team at age 26/27. And the speed and defense of that team would be fantastic!


  4. A year ago, Castro was seen as our best player and Altuve was questionable because of his fielding and down year at the plate. Maybe Castro will rebound next year and Altuve can remain the force that he is for years.

    Concerning Appel, I’ve been and am baffled by their handling of him. I don’t like this cookie cutter computer groove they put these kids in. A lot can be handled through this computer intellectualized world, but the other half of the brain should not be discarded. Building Appel’s confidence, and putting him in a position to do well should be at the top of the list in handling Appel. I feel that he should only start games at this tender time of his development and he should have the same time between starts as the pitchers in Houston do.


    • Larry – that must make too much sense for them. The way I look at it is that I work supervising engineers and other employees. While I try to treat all the employees the same from a fairness standpoint, I understand that they are different people when it comes to motivation. Some need prodding, some need praising, some need a kick in the back side others a pat on the back – but if I want to get the most out of them I need to understand what are their triggers.


    • I agree daveb – he has improved and I think he will continue to do that. The biggest thing is that he seems to have a plan when he gets to the plate and he works it well.


  5. Just for the fun of it – at the end of 1991 – Craig Biggio had played in about the same amount games as Jose Altuve does right now (483 for Bidge and 490 for Tuuuve). Craig was about a year and a half older than Jose and of course had mostly played catcher (though he had played 120 games elsewhere – mostly the OF). He would not move to second until 1992.
    So at that point Jose led in the following career numbers:
    594 to 454 hits
    124 to 71 SB
    243 to 210 Runs scored
    .299 to .272 BA

    And trailed Biggio in
    20 to 24 HR
    153 to 146 RBI

    And of course — height.

    Just thought those were interesting numbers. It is tough to remember that Altuve just turned 24 in July. He is still so young but does not play like it.


    • Add to that the fact that Altuve has had terrible hitters hitting in front of him and behind him for these last four years and you can see why his RBIs and runs scored trail Biggio. Now I’m not saying Biggio’s team was great or even good, but just looking at the Astros the last four years, there’s no way Altuve has had near the players around him that Biggio had.


      • Only trailing him in HR and RBIs, not runs scored. I will say that playing catcher stifled some of Bidge’s numbers. It will be interesting to see whether Altuve gains power in his later 20’s. The proof in the comparison will be when Altuve gets through those comparative years (1994 – 1999) when Biggio was one of the best players in baseball – period.


    • Watching yesterday’s game – Ashby mentioned that Dominguez had spent so much of his recent BP hitting to right field. He then hit the next pitch for a single to right. Then later on he turned on one for the tying HR.
      Yes – guys in the 25 and under include Matty D, Marwin, Altuve, Marisnick, Singleton, Santana, Grossman, Villar, and Springer. And of course guys like Singleton and Santana are way under.
      By the way – maybe they need to make Singleton do pushups at home plate like Willie Mays Hayes everytime he hits a popup 3 gazillion miles in the air. He is in a groove right now and it is not a good one.


    • Yes, and was not until Biggio’s fifth season before he got the OBP up over the .370 mark, then going on to post a batch of years over .400. With solid hitters around him, Altuve is capable of doing the same.


  6. I assume my comments are still welcome here despite the majority disagreeing with me yesterday. 🙂 I think we will all be in agreement here that Altuve is, far and away, the 2014 Astros MVP. Who would you say is the distant 2nd place finisher? Despite his horrid start it might be Chris Carter. If you want to go the pitching route it would be either McHugh, Keuchel or Qualls. Thoughts?


    • Tim – I have no problem with disagreements and it does stir the pot a bit – as long as we don’t get into name calling we are fine.

      I think that is a great question.

      People will scoff at Qualls – because of some crash and burns against the Oakland A’s (his ERA is like 1.50 against the rest of the league). I would point out that he is 16 out of 20 in save situations. The rest of the team is 8 of 26 in save situations (that includes those times when somebody BS in the 7th – I’m talking to you Jerome Williams).
      Carter has given them legitimate power in the middle of the order and more importantly has been swinging the bat well when it counted in games.
      I wasn’t that high on Keuchel coming into the year – but some of you folks pointed out that he had stats that pointed towards probable improvement this season – and he has been consistently very good.
      McHugh is a gem they got for nothing and has been very good also.

      2nd best in the MVP spot – I’m picking Keuchel for 2 reasons. First he has given them a very good chance to win in about 20 of his starts this season. Second, he has hit a groove where he is going deep (7 of his last 9 starts of 7 IP or better) and that helps this team immensely by not wearing out the pen.


  7. As good as Altuve is now I would not be surprised to see him continue to improve the next few years as the team gets better around him. Clearly the second spot in the order suits him and we seem to have two legitimate leadoff candidates in Grossman and Fowler. Because he is not a real power threat I don’t think he will be pitched around and if he is and becomes more discerning and walks more he will remain a threat to steal. We may take it as a matter of course but among qualifiers only Victor Martinez is harder to strike out in MLB (.074 for V Mart vs .0775 for Jose). Sadly, of the Astros with more than 150 plate appearances only Presley, Corporan and Gonzalez have K rates below 20%. There’s a lot to be said for putting the ball in play.


    • Nice numbers Dr Bill and analysis.
      Altuve puts the ball in play and usually with a decent chance to be a hit.
      Interesting that Marwin, Corporan and Presley are on the good list – not sure I would have chosen them as less than 20% Ks.


  8. Here’s a quote from a story on September call ups,

    “Astros relievers had thrown the fourth-fewest innings among AL relief corps entering Sunday.”

    Speaks well to our starting pitching and screams loudly how horrible this bullpen has been.


    • Wow is right!. Again, Rosenthal gets blasted by the Luhnow guys on other blogs, for blowing smoke. I think the words “non story” were used to describe his reporting.
      Then a day later, BOOM.
      As in every other big story concerning the Astros this year, that’s no smoke, that’s the Astros in flames.
      And all the talk about the team improving so much this season gets the manager fired. I hope he told Luhnow what he thinks of him before he was shoved out the door.
      The problem with this is that if Porter tells anybody what he knows about what has gone on the last couple of years, he’ll never get another job. So I guess the dumb sheep of the Astros herd that I am just keeps on grazin’ out here waiting for television and that promise of the day after tomorrow.


  9. McHugh gets the award for best August, but Keuchel has given us 6.84 innings a start. Feldman 6.08. McHugh 6.00. Keuchel’s shortest outing is 5 innings. He’s kept us in all 21 of his starts. On a team that scores runs on a regular basis, he’d be much better off than 9 and 7. And by giving us almost 7 innings per start, he’s kept the weaker links of the pen out the equation for the most part. He’s the distant runner up to Altuve.


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